MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 6, 2002 -12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:00p.m.
Councilors present: Laws, Hearn, Morrison, Hartzell and Reid. Staff present: City Administrator Greg Scoles, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Communication & Marketing Manager Ann Seltzer, and Fire Chief Keith Woodley.
1. Discussion and final review of plans for Siskiyou Boulevard and Highway 66.
Public Works Director Paula Brown gave an overview of the current status of the Siskiyou Boulevard and Highway 66 design project, noting that some decisions are "still in the making," while some decisions are already made. She explained that the primary goal is safety, adding 6-ft. bike lanes, and providing pedestrian crosswalk safety. She noted that the median changes that will occur are for safety purposes and that in landscaping, conservation methods will be considered, including the use of native grass mixes. The best scenario for crosswalks, would be to use different types of surfacing and zebra striping. Brown explained that there are alternatives available if property owners are uncooperative in making recommended changes.
She briefly outlined the following:
Engineers explained that construction phases are now being considered and how traffic might best be accommodated. It was proposed that the most workable plan is to begin in the middle of the street, closing down the inside lanes in both directions, and coordinate the timing of the work with consideration of Fourth of July parade and school schedules. Brown noted the requirement for completing work on Highway 66 by May of 2003. Mayor mentioned the possibility of countdown timers for crosswalks.
Brown noted that ODOT has approved desired changes for Gresham Street/East Main intersection, giving $500,000 for this section of the project. She explained that impact studies have been done for this area and outlined possible changes for Gresham Street including making it one-way down, pedestrian improvements, and optimizing parking.
Hartzell questioned the location of a crosswalk in front of the Fire Station. Brown clarified that it will ultimately be signalized and handle Library traffic. Reid spoke on the timing issues in regards to Fire trucks navigating in areas of proposed changes. Brown noted that the issue will be looked at and ideas concerning circulation and timing would be brought back to the council. Brown recognized conservation issues, which including planting with native grass mixes requiring less water.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Spoke of his perception that the plan dislocates traffic along Siskiyou while having potential negative impact on back street and ally traffic. He suggested conducting an analysis of impacts on neighborhoods. He also noted that streamlining traffic flow along Siskiyou could increase the speed of traffic entering the downtown area.
Morrison noted the major dislocations that would occur during the construction phase and expressed his hopes that a comprehensive communications plan would be put in place. Communication & Marketing Manager, Ann Seltzer, clarified that a draft communication plan is already in place. Laws noted that this is an opportunity to initiate a meaningful shuttle service in town.
Brown clarified that the decisions requiring compromise would be brought back to council for direction and noted that the only deeded access downtown is Puck's. It was noted that the council should focus, not only on what residents want right now, but what the residents in the future will need in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety and livability in the long term. Brown suggested a public meeting in during the first week of April to allow more public input. Mayor suggested that along with regular noticing of the meeting, that physical noticing is done to ensure that all residents are made aware of the meeting.
Brown noted that the rest of the project would be brought to the council on April 16th. Mayor noted that April 4th is the next Traffic Planning Advisory Commission meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Barbara Christensen, City Recorder